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18 May 2006 : Column 1222W—continued

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of (a) remand prisoners and (b) sentenced prisoners suffering from mental problems. [45212]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Information on the number of prisoners with mental problems is not held centrally.

A survey of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales undertaken in 1997 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that around 90 per cent. of prisoners had at least one of the five disorders considered in the survey. Looking at the results of this survey in more detail, some 10 per cent. of men on remand, 7 per cent. of sentenced men and 14 per cent. of all women had suffered a functional psychosis (such as schizophrenia or manic depression) in the past year. Around 59 per cent. of men on remand, 40 per cent. of sentenced men, 76 per cent. of women on remand and 63 per cent. of sentenced women had suffered from a neurotic disorder in the previous week. Rates of personality disorder were 78 per cent. amongst remanded men, 64 per cent. among sentenced men and 50 per cent. among all women.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the upgrading of governor grade positions at HM Prison Buckley Hall; on what basis the decision to upgrade was taken; whether the upgrade is permanent; from which budget the promotion is paid; and who decided (a) the basis of the upgrade and (b) the source of the finance to pay for the upgrade. [69454]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There have been two instances in which managers have been deployed in the prison who carry a more senior grade and payband than the post requires. This was partly to assist in the change of role for the prison to a male establishment, but also because of the individual circumstances of the managers. The decision to deploy these staff was made by senior Prison Service management. Any additional costs that may have been incurred would have been met from within the establishment and area budget.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many investigations there have been into alleged misconduct of prison governors at HMP Wandsworth in the last five years; what the (a) length and (b) outcome was of each investigation; and if he will make a statement. [48511]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: There have been six investigations in the last five years into allegations of misconduct by governor grades at Wandsworth. Each investigation may include more than one employee and include governor grades. Two investigations required no further action and a further three required disciplinary hearings. The sixth investigation is still under way and the outcome is not yet known. The outcome of one investigation concluded in no further action but advice and guidance to the individuals was issued. Of the six investigations: two were less than six months in duration, three were between six months and a year in duration, and one is still under way.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the preparation of (a) adult prisoners and (b) young offenders for release from custody and rejoining their families; and if he will make a statement. [55074]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government are committed to reducing re-offending by both adults and younger offenders. We recognise that, in the case of those released from custodial sentences, this can be achieved only through successful reintegration into the community. This, in turn, requires action from the earliest stages to address offenders' needs; examples of activity taking place in prisons include basic skills training and work to increase offenders’ employability.

In recent months we have launched a series of complementary initiatives, to reduce re-offending. Last November we published the National Reducing Re-offending Delivery Plan, setting out our plans over the next 18 months for tackling re-offending, working in partnership at national, regional and local levels.

At the same time we launched three important new alliances, which will develop existing links with the corporate sector and with the faith and voluntary and community sector; we will also build on links with local authorities and other non-CJS partners, through the Civic Society Alliance. The alliances reflect the reality of our intention to develop partnerships at all levels to reduce re-offending.

Last month, we published “A Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending”. This sets out our wider vision of how the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) will work with its partners in the coming years, to reduce re-offending, to cut crime and to help create a safer, more secure society.

Also last month, the Youth Justice Board published its Youth Resettlement Framework Action Plan community prisons. The framework focuses on seven resettlement pathways: Case Management and Transitions; Accommodation; Education, Training and Employment; Health; Substance Misuse; Families; and Finance, Benefit and Debt. It highlights the main actions required at local, regional and national level, emphasising the need to take account of the reducing re-offending alliances.

The framework will be continually influenced by developing practice and monitored by a strategic steering group of key partners at national level. This group will provide an overview for the NOMS Programme Board and the Youth Justice Board, promoting and disseminating practice as it develops.
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The framework will be revisited in 12 months time when a formal review of its impact will be conducted by the Youth Justice Board. The regional reducing re-offending partnership boards will be instrumental in implementing effective resettlement for young people and links have already been established.

One of the pathways in the Reducing Re-offending Delivery Plan focuses on offenders’ children and families. It will help offenders maintain family relationships and provide support while they are serving sentence and in sustaining changes in behaviour thereafter. The pathway is in the early stages of development and we are working to establish governance arrangements, including establishing a cross-Government sub-board. The sub-board will enable us to ensure our policies across government are aligned and mutually supportive, highlighting good practice while preventing duplication of effort and resources. As an important element of the work, a three year project to establish a regional pathfinder is now getting under way under the management of the regional offender manager for the West Midlands. Its objectives are to strengthen family ties, to support children and families and reduce re-offending through a collaborative approach.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates in adult prisons and young offender institutions have (a) dependent spouses or partners and (b) dependent children. [55081]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There are no routinely collected data on the number of prisoners in prison who have dependent spouses/partners or dependent children. However, a representative survey of 1,944 prisoners nearing release conducted by the Home Office in 2003 found that 31 per cent. of prisoners (not including juveniles under 18 years of age) reported living with a spouse or partner immediately before custody (no information is available on whether the partner was dependent or not). The same survey found that 16 per cent. of prisoners reported living with dependent children under the age of 18 before custody.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of (a) the number of buildings in the prison estate with leaking roofs, (b) the ages of those buildings, (c) how many rooms in those buildings are not in use as a result of leaking roofs, (d) what proportion of those buildings are the same style as X and Y blocks at HM Prison Spring Hill and (e) what proportion were built by the same contractor. [55595]

Mr. Sutcliffe: To assemble all the information requested in this question could be done only at disproportionate cost.

The latest information held on the NOMS maintenance database indicates that the total number of buildings currently in the public prison estate (dating from the 19th century to 2003) with leaks is 1,357 and that it would cost an estimated £23 million for them to be repaired. The style of block at HMP Spring Hill accounts for 2.1 per cent. of the 1,357 recorded. The block suppliers for HMP Spring Hill (Elliot Redispace) account for 1.4 per cent. of the 1,357 recorded.

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This 1,357 recording of leaks includes a range of buildings experiencing varying degrees of leaking and the prisons remain operational. A series of schemes to address leaking roof problems have been undertaken in recent years to address the most pressing needs and such schemes are continuing.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many listeners there are at each prison; how many are designated as foreign nationals; and if he will list the nationalities of listeners at each prison. [62766]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The information required is not collated centrally in the requested format and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. ‘Listeners’ are Samaritan-trained prisoner peer supporters who provide emotional confidential support to prisoners. 2,650 listeners were recruited across the estate between October 2001 and March 2004.

There are currently 118 listener schemes operating in prisons in England and Wales. Where listener schemes exist listeners are made available to all prisoners, and prisons are required to ensure that prisoners have timely access to listeners. The number of contacts recorded (by Samaritans) between listeners and prisoners between July to December 2005 was 28,570.

Provision for listeners was assessed as part of Safer Custody Group’s peer support project, which ran from April 2001 to March 2004, and through a three-year project undertaken by the Samaritans, funded jointly by Safer Custody Group and Active Community Unit, to review the work of listeners and Samaritans being carried out in 47 ‘high-risk’ prisons including prisoner access to listeners.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of day release schemes for prisoners operated in other countries. [65593]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Home Office has not undertaken an assessment of day release schemes in other countries.

Release on temporary licence (ROTL) is used by prison governors to improve resettlement opportunities for prisoners and to maintain family ties. In conjunction with a stringent risk assessment process, ROTL plays a key role in the management of prisoners in the resettlement estate. This comprises 30 establishments, mainly open prisons, which provide specific regimes for longer term prisoners, including life sentence prisoners, during the final two years of their sentence. The resettlement estate provides opportunities for prisoners to address offending behaviour, educational and training needs, and to undertake unpaid community work and, finally, paid employment.

The number of prisoners released on ROTL for resettlement purposes varies slightly over time. The most recent snapshot of resettlement estate activity was undertaken in February 2006 and revealed that some 1,550 prisoners were engaged in unpaid community work and paid employment placements.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his
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strategy for tackling prisoner alcohol misuse and addiction. [65599]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The national offender management service published in December 2004 a comprehensive ‘Alcohol strategy for prisoners’.

The strategy provides a framework for addressing prisoners' alcohol problems and acts as a benchmark for prisons to formulate their response to alcohol misuse at local level.

This strategy can be accessed at the following link:

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will reconstruct the prison regime to support prisoners working a conventional 9 am to 5 pm working day in education, vocational training or work programmes. [65610]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The national offender manager, the regional offender managers and the director of offender management in Wales commission services for offenders in custody and the community, along with other Government Departments including the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills. They will commission services from the public sector prison service and private sector prisons on the basis of offenders needs. These needs include employment, training and education needs. However, it is for providers—whether the prison service, private prison contractor or subcontractors to those running prisons—to construct a prison regime which fulfils offenders' employment training and education needs within available resources.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will extend the Offenders Assessment System to apply to remand and short-term prisoners. [65613]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Offender Assessment System, OASys, will be extended to include short-term prisoners when Custody Plus is implemented later this year. It would not be appropriate to extend it to include remand prisoners as it cannot properly be applied to those who have not as yet been convicted of an offence.

Probation Service

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to introduce legislation to give the Secretary of State the power to contract out probation services. [48193]

Mr. Sutcliffe: We intend to bring forward legislation to restructure probation services as soon as the parliamentary timetable allows.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding will be made available to implement the Coordinated Prostitution Strategy. [62749]

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Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 18 April 2006]: Local activity to support the strategy, including the development of routes out for those involved in prostitution, is funded from a number of existing sources. For example, 87 Local Strategic Partnerships receive neighbourhood renewal fund to kick start the improvement of services to tackle deprivation. There are also 35 neighbourhood management pathfinders with a focus on changing the way in which key mainstream services are delivered so that they meet the needs and priorities of neighbourhoods, and 39 new deal for communities partnerships to address the priority needs of neighbourhoods.

The safer and stronger communities fund is also part of the local area agreement approach and can be used to address crime and antisocial behaviour, and to reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs.

Women trapped in prostitution frequently have a complex range of needs which can include drug treatment and other health needs, and housing. A key objective of the strategy is to ensure that these needs are recognised and that services are accessible to this group. The most urgent need for many is for drug treatment. In addition to NHS funding through primary care trusts and social services funding streams, central Government provides funding for drug treatment through the pooled treatment budget, which increased by 18 per cent. from £253 million in 2004-05 to £299 million in 2005-06. The other urgent need is for appropriate and stable housing. The strategy encourages local authorities to ensure that relevant services, such as those provided via the Supporting People programme, are made accessible to women exiting prostitution.

Other sources of Government funding are available to support this aspect of the strategy. For example, since 2004 the Home Office has placed £5.25 million into the victims fund to support the development of support services for victims of sexual offending. A number of projects involved in the provision of support for those involved in prostitution have received grants from this fund.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prostitutes in England and Wales have received antisocial behaviour orders since their introduction. [63769]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 18 April 2006]: The requested information is not collated centrally.

Security Industry Authority

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for licences to the Security Industry Authority (a) are outstanding and (b) have been outstanding for more than (i) three and (ii) six months; and if he will make a statement. [55178]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 2 March 2006]: Due to the number of late applications there is a four week delay checking and scanning applications onto the licensing system. Once on the system, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) aim to process 80 per cent. of applicants within six weeks. In the four months prior to
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Christmas, (excluding the effect of bank holidays) the SIA completed processing of 23,191 applications, 86 per cent. within the six week target.

At 28 February there were 23,191 applications with the SIA being processed. Of those 628 (2.7 per cent.) had been on their system for more than three months and 139 (0.6 per cent.) for more than six months. These circumstances are for the protection of the public and arise when the SIA or the CRB (provider of the criminality checks) are waiting for information from the applicant. The main issues are either confirmation of training or further CRB enquires where there are doubts about the identity of the applicant, often requiring fingerprint verification by the police. Other smaller numbers are where payments have failed and not been rectified or where overseas criminality checks are outstanding. Of the 628 over three months, 217(35 per cent.) were awaiting training confirmation and 305 (49 per cent.) were awaiting further identity checks by the CRB.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the Security Industry Agency has cost. [58958]

Mr. Coaker: The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is required to be self-financing from the licence fee income but it was always anticipated that the SIA would not break even in its first couple of years, because of the gradual introduction of licensing, which will eventually meet all the SIA’s running costs. The deficit in the first year, 2003-04, was £7.1 million as the SIA had no licence income. In 2004-05, the deficit was £13 million, and the estimated deficit for 2005-06 is about £3.5 million.

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